IMAGE FROM MLSNET.com
Sorry for my delinquency in covering this subject but it has been a busy few days. Tonight I board a plane for London and onwards to India from where I will be reporting from the next few weeks, culminating in the US-England match from Wembley Stadium on May 28th.
DC United’s new deal with Volkswagen is a massive break through for Major League Soccer. For the first time, a club has been able to break out on its own and sell it brand independentiy of the league to a major international sponsor. Commissioner Don Garber has called DC United the MLS “most authentic brand.” I have news for the Commissioner: Thus far in the league’s history, it has been the only worthwhile truly authentic brand associated with MLS.
As we have discussed numerous times in the past United has been MLS trend setter and it can be strongly argued without the United brand, MLS would no longer exist. No club has had the on the field success of signed the caliber of foreign player consistently that United has. No MLS club has maintain such a clear identity in its existence as United. Scouting has always been a trademark of the Red and Black and almost everything the club has done has not only been first class, but ahead of the rest of MLS. For those commentators who claim MLS is a “mickey mouse” league, DC United has always been the easiest retort.
Now United’s groundbreaking deal with Volkswagen opens the door for MLS clubs to get big time international sponsors. No offense to Herbalife, Amigo Energy or XANGO but those localized sponsors of MLS clubs made the league look decidedly small time. Now VW not only has given DC United a massive sponsorship deal but has also plucked one of its players, because of his international stardom as a spokesperson. Marcello Gallardo helped DC United land this sponsorship deal by all accounts as he will now serve as the company’s spokesperson in South America. United also now will have established links with Wolfsburg, a Bundesliga club owned by VW where Claudio Reyna became a household name in the mid 1990s.
United’s success is MLS’ success. This sponsorship deal should open the door for United to continue to be one of the elite clubs in North America. It could also open the door for prominent European corporations to invest in Major League Soccer. Once again, DC United leads the way to a brighter future for Major League Soccer.